Firey says puppy in photo was just one part of the picture
MANY have now seen the photo of a fire lieutenant, clad in muddy yellow, feeding water to a small puppy in a fire-impacted area.
The photo of Agnes Water station fire lieutenant Blake Hyland was taken by colleague Michael Bickle and has been commented on by thousands via social media.
"We were tasked with structural protection of a residence in Deepwater and the fire front was coming from multiple angles," Mr Hyland said.
"We still had power so we were able to put their sprinklers on.
"While doing a 360 situation report I accessed under the house and found the puppy was hiding under a bit of sheet tin metal."
He gave water to the "very dehydrated and very scared" animal and while the puppy is safe and back with its owner, the lives of many more creatures hang in the balance.
Mr Hyland said there was "no doubt" the fires had caused suffering to the region's animals.
"I rescued one frog yesterday ... some of those properties and areas with the wide scrub have been literally wiped off the map.
"I just hope a lot of them have fled, but obviously that's not going to be the case, (many) would have just got caught in it and perished."
Fighting on the front lines since Sunday, he also worried about the threat to his own home, a concern shared by many of the people tirelessly fighting the flames.
"We're still all in the thick of it, my house itself is in the firing line," Mr Hyland said.
"First couple of days it was in the zone of being in a bit of trouble ... and depending on what happens with the other fires in the area it still could be.
"We had a bobcat driver come and try to clear the area around our house and he's had to evacuate his own property. Everybody's in the same boat in our small community."
Mr Hyland has three young sons and a wife who was forced to shut down her Agnes Waters florist DC Blooms & Co.
"She'll probably shut it for the rest of the week, it's too dangerous with the conditions," Mr Hyland said.
"I don't think people realise the gravity of what a lot of the emergency service workers in the rural fire brigade and volunteers (are experiencing)."
He said many emergency service workers had houses in the line of fire but leaving work was not an option.
"We're there to provide a service to our community. That's the number one reason why people work in emergency services is to help other people."